If you are a Christian, I would wholeheartedly recommend spending an extended time—anywhere from a half a day to a whole day with God–in serious, focused worship, at least every several months, so your spirit will be renewed and rejuvenated. This can mean singing along with praise/worship songs and/or hymns, digging deeper into His Word, praying and meditating on His Word. I had tried to spend an extended time before with little result. Yesterday, however, was different. It’s like God opened the floodgates of His power and His teachings into my life in a more resounding way than I only had experienced on retreats with groups of people and never in my personal time with God! Here are some of the many things I learned:
1.) Don’t fight with people–fight the Enemy: In a book I read ( Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. You can buy it at this link: Fervent), I learned that when we have strife, anger, or resentment against another person, especially after an argument or fight with them, we are catering to the Enemy–the devil. People are not the Enemy. The devil is. Yes, it’s natural to have anger towards another person sometimes, and everyone has, even Christians–even me! However, what I learned is not to let that anger control you or worsen your relationships. If more people realized and believed that a sinister being and evil spirits are behind most of our quarrels with others, then I believe more people would be apt to turn to God in prayer and have mercy towards the person who had offended them.
2.) Forgive as you have been forgiven: This one was actually review for me, but I needed this refresher, and I bet many people reading this may need it too. There are many misconceptions out there about forgiveness, which is part of the reason I think it’s so difficult for many people to actually forgive biblically! First of all, when you forgive, it’s not giving a free pass to the offender. The offender still needs to make reparations and repent in order to actually receive it for him or herself. He or she also can face judgment for the offense if it is very serious. The very act of you having to forgive them means that the offender actually did something that you think was wrong and sinful! Also, forgiving one who offended you, is actually for you more than it is for them. It helps you be free of the tormenting memories of hurt and anger that flash through your mind every time you think of or interact with them and of poisoning your other relationships (which, in fact, does happen. Trust me. I’ve witnessed it and experienced it myself when I struggled with unforgiveness.) with your carried-over anger and resentment of the original offender.
3.) Do all things without grumbling or complaining….and with that: Be a voice of encouragement, rather than a voice of complaining or gossiping. – This is by far the toughest for me, because, in my fleshly state, I grumble and complain too much for my own good. I found that when I complain about someone or something, I not only tend to get angrier and angrier, I also get somewhat depressed and discouraged. I think this is no accident—The devil had already planted seeds of discontentment in my heart, causing me to get emotionally down and discouraged, instead of being grateful and joyful. However, when I intentionally aim to encourage another person or stop myself from complaining about someone, I tend to feel better about myself and my circumstances. Sometimes, if I am in a bad situation and I try to not grumble and complain about it, it passes without incident. I remember today, I was particularly angry with someone and wanted to complain to a manager about this person, but found that a.) I didn’t have time for that. and b.) It was no longer important to me to complain about them. Also, in the past when I felt overwhelmed by the work assigned me at my job, I used to constantly complain that it was too much. After my time with God yesterday, I knew the work was going to be a lot and I didn’t really have even enough time to complete everything I wanted to get done, but I was able to get a lot done and not be overly upset about it.
4.) Have more sṓphrōn, which means self-control, of a sound mind. -I learned that I need to control my anger better and have more self-control about certain things I won’t get into now. I learned that all self-control really starts in the mind. I also learned from various sources that if I wanted to have more self-control and be biblical, that I should read and memorize His Word more. I also learned that a key element of self-control is patience. I learned that having patience and self-control accomplish several things: a.) They prevent you from disaster–either physically, emotionally, or even spiritually. b.) It helps you delay gratification, so you can receive the better or best thing because you were able to wait for it. c.) It helps you be a more grateful person in that you learn to cope the best you can in the situation you are in without yearning too much for the thing which you are waiting.
These are the four major things I learned, and hopefully start to apply to my life. I hope you, the reader, also can take away something from these lessons and apply them to your own life. God has taught me so much in my life. I can’t wait for all He has in store for me- for all of us!